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Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale) | Anchor Brewing Company

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Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale)
136 Ratings
Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 11-07-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 136 |  Reviews: 126
Photo of KensWorld
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Past its prime.

15 characters

Photo of SkinniePost
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of BColton1
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of Gonzoillini
2/5  rDev -50.2%

4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of JamLand
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of matjack85
1.75/5  rDev -56.5%

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of drabmuh
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured from a bottle into a 2002 Anchor Our Special Ale pint glass with a gold rim. Yep, I have a 2002 Anchor OSA glass.

Beer is dark brown / ruby with these woody looking chucks on yeast that came out immediate, not settled at all. Nice tan head, some lacing, moderate carbonation.

Aroma is sweet and strong, mild soy-sauceness but nothing too horrible, malty, mild spiciness, good overall.

Beer is medium in body and has this nice chewy finish to it, I don't drink hte yeast bits but the rest of the beer tastes old, malty, sweet, mild tobacco again, mildly bitter but not dry on the back palate. Nice. I'm excited to try a few more older ones.

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Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of nickd717
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review dated 2/4/2009.

Bottle at The Bruery, 2002 vintage, drank it December 2008, vertical with 2001 and 2008 vintages. Dark amber color with an off-white head. Aroma of roasted malt, nutmeg, ginger, and brown sugar. Taste is the same, malty and spicy, not quite as mellow as the 2001. Medium-full body.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.23/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

The Fourth Day of Beermas... It pours a dark ruby-tinted black-brown topped by a minor bit of dirty white foam. The nose comprises cocoa powder, brown sugar, walnuts, and maple syrup. Unfortunately, there is a twinge of fishiness, of staleness weaving its way through everything. The taste holds notes of nutmeg, brown sugar, figs, red apples, cocoa, and a light bi of vinyl. The body is a chunky medium, with a light carbonation and a slightly oily feel. Overall, things are definitely progressing, but there's still a ways to go.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes on an aged 2002 OSA.

Pours a dark brown, slightly muddy color. Still a decent carbonation level. Slight woodsy and "herbed" aroma-reminds me of a very mild Jagermeister like smell. Decent malt and slightly spiced flavor. Faint hint of treacle and caramel. Some molasses fading into the backround. Again somewhat woody and grainy tasting. Mild lingering sweetness of the lips. Decent enough body. Has aged quite well considering the low abv. Still very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
3.47/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

taste- creamy roasted malts, licorice, bitterness, complexity, prunes

color- deep chestnut

clarity- clear

smell- chocolate, licorice, prunes, spice, roasted flavors

body- medium-full, hop bitterness at the front of the palete

appearance- dark, clean, slight foam ring

overall impression- interesting

notes- amazing how this beer still holds up with six years of age in a 12oz bottle. bottle still characteristic of anchor's beers, carbonation is still present. 28th release of this beer. this review is for a 2002 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: pint

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle given as an extra by ianslee. Thanks!.

A: Super dark brown with no hints of light getting through until held up directly to the light. Impressive 3/4 finger of brownish head. Not bad for a 7 year old bottle. Impressive lacing as well.

S: Little bit of sweetness. Starting to get a touch oxidized. Some spruce is there. Not nearly the christmas tree in a bottle this beer can be fresh. Has that aged flavor as well which is always a plus for me. Quite a bit of malt and a touch of molasses.

T: This really melded together nicely. Wow the christmas tree and the malt have come together well. I have never tasted something like this in a beer before. Little bit of black pepper in there at the end. Leather maybe as well.

M: Glorious. So creamy and good. Reminds me of a cask pour.

D: For a 7 year old 5.5% beer...damn. This has held up like a champ. I have a few more bottles and I will savor them during a nice blizzard in the next 10 years.

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Photo of Floydster
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle purchased from the Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel for around six dollars, consumed 12/27/08 alongside the 2003 vintage, reviewed from notes, both were poured into small snifters, color is a dark brown with slightly red tint, minimal 1/4 inch bubbly light tan head that goes away rather quickly, no lacing, aroma is dark fruit, pepper, slightly oxidized malt, tons of different spices, brown sugar, and caramel, taste was rather spicy, malt in the middle, then pepper, tobacco, and molasses in the finish, mellows out as it warms and sugary caramel comes out, spicy and sweet mouthfeel, thin to medium body, low level of carbonation, could have drank a few more of these, especially on a cold night, not too heavy, spiciness could become overpowering after a while maybe, I like the recipe for this year but it came up short to the 2003 drank right next to it, would drink again though, recommended

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Photo of UnionMade
4.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Opaque dark brown, nearly black. Thin topping of beige head. Laces the glass well with a scattered speckling of foam.

Aroma is sweet, with nutmeg readily apparent. Deep and woody, with some gingery, plum-like notes. Mellowed roastiness.

Flavor opens up soft and elegant, with caramelized malt sweetness. Spices are well present, namely nutmeg and ginger, along with some prune fruitiness. Not nearly as much of an oxidized presence as I expected from a seven year old beer. In fact, this almost tastes fresh if not for the mellowed gentleness. Very woodsy, in the best possible sense. The overall flavor is reminiscent of a nice hike in early fall. Foresty, damp soil and pine trees, earthy, soothing and warm enough to still wear a t-shirt. Finishes bittersweet, spicy and soft. This one has aged to develop those kindly laugh-wrinkles around the eyes.

 855 characters

Photo of Crosling
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany colored ale with a long lasting white head. Very nice aroma showcases notes of fruit cake, vanilla, nutmeg and mint. Flavor is very nice and brilliantly balanced. Notes of cinnamon, pine, juniper and fruit cake. Very nice body to it and well as a nice finish.

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Photo of hopdog
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried 5 vintages on tap at the Stuffed Sandwich ('00, '01, '02, '03 & '04). The '01 was my favorite with the '00 a close 2nd. Nice subtle, malty, caramel aromas and tastes. Molasses. Light spices. I'm glad I had the chance to compare the 4 vintages on tap.

NOTE: did a tasting on 1/15/05 that included years '87, '90, '94, '97, '98, '00, '01, '02, & '03. The '02, '01 & '94 stood out as the best of the bunch. The '94 had a nice whiskey taste to it that the others did not. I thought the older vintages held up well over the years.

 535 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

An oddity, Anchor Christmas Ale is a beer that tries to defy time. Who would have thought you could cellar a beer that is less than 6 percent? It is simply amazing that most of the vintages have held up well over the years. Sure, you get a bit of oxidation and the hops fade too, but all in all the age does this beer good. When we tried it back in 2002 we noticed this version was not has hoppy as previous years.

Beer offers an amazing lace from a good two fingers of tan froth, a few shades lighter than black. The deep brown tone doesn't let much light in. Spicy, sweet aroma. Smells of hermit cookies, a fresh slice of fruitcake and faint spearmint. Very smooth, with a lush medium body. Baker's chocolate and toasted bread crust come to mind. Spicy, mildly minty, with a toasty flavor throughout. Twang of citrus with a dark, roasty, sweet maltiness, reminiscent of orange peels and burnt sugar. Very little hop character, but the slight vinous and fruity undertones keep things balanced. Four years of cellaring have certainly not harmed this beer at all.

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Photo of iasanlee
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Cloudy dark dark brown with a beautiful brown 3 finger head

S- Loads of dark fruit and malty sweetness,

T- Medicinal and floral. Black cherries and dark fruit is abundant. Coffee, Very sweet. Carmel. Wow. Absolutely delicious

M- Thick and coating. Carbonation is low, but not non-existant. A lasting malty finish.

D- A real treat, I love it. Almost barleywineish. I am so glad I found a six pack of this in my regular bars cooler (It had been there since 2002). Time has done it wonders.

 495 characters

Photo of eberkman
3.52/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty dark brown that glows reddish when held to the light. Deep, stoutlike tan head -- about a finger's worth that reduces within 2 minutes to a thin island on the surface.

Pleasant, warming smells of plums, prunes, dates and holiday spices.

Also tastes of wintery spices and dark fruit, but with kind of an unpleasantly astringent finish that's almost vinegary.

Medium bodied for such a dark beer. Moderate carbonation. Feels reasonably substantial in the mouth.

Not the most drinkable because of the odd finish.

But it's a 2002, so it's been sitting aroudn for a while and it's not particulary high ABV, so maybe it's really not meant to cellar this long.

I'll try the 2003 soon for comparison purposes.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown eggpalnt hue topped with a craggy collar of khaki foam dripping down to leave no trace in the glass.

Earthy herbal nose of dirt, sawdust, caramel and red apple.

First swigs: Light apple vinegar meets a carrot cake malt backing. Dark fruits of fig, ripe pear and finishes off with a touch of lemon tea herbal notes. Dry soft cotton finish.

Soft subtle light carbonation almost seems like this is flat.

Last swigs: Sure it's interesting and fun to try after a few years, but it's more of an experiment.

 525 characters

Photo of Vancer
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2002 – 5 years ago. How time flys and only ages these beauties like fine wine (or beer).

Classic pour of mahogany brown, deep cola like. Thin topper cap.

This was the year of the winter spices, along with plenty of dark fruits – heavy on the cherry. One of the better anchor brews, but donno if the aging really brought this one around. I’m a lucky stiff to be enjoying this thanks to Timtheechanta.

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Our Special Ale 2002 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 136 ratings
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